The multiple writers and artists listed disguise that the bulk of Manifest Destiny is Matt Fraction acquiring the X-Men franchise and that being cause for a form of reboot. This collection shouldn’t be confused with plain X-Men: Manifest Destiny, which is even more of an anthology re-establishing the mutants to be used going forward.

Fraction’s run of just under three years begins during the period when the world’s mutant population has been reduced to just under two hundred. He has the X-Men settling into new headquarters in a remote area north of San Francisco and issuing an open invitation for all other mutants to join them, now reminiscent of Jonathan Hickman’s later X-Men, which played out on a bigger scale. The opening shot is an action extravaganza featuring Sentinels, Magneto and the High Evolutionary, and for good measure the introduction of a new anti-mutant bigot group on the final pages. They’re the threat that come to dominate.

Departing writer Ed Brubaker is around for a transition, but there are enough indications that Fraction is setting the way forward. Every X-Men writer seems to settle on a new or obscure character as the eyes through which the big guns are seen, and for Fraction it’s Pixie, at the start a victim of the Hellfire thugs. They prove more troublesome than anticipated for reasons eventually revealed in what’s a solid enough starting point, but for the art.

Greg Land draws most pages in his form of glossy realism with considerable reliance on photoshopping reference material and reshaping it to suit his purposes. The results are superficially attractive until Land needs to draw people from scratch, when the deficiencies begin to show. It’s something he’s aware of, so relies as far as possible on faces and shopped-in figures. Some of these are inappropriately over-sexualised women. It’s not as if superhero comics had a sparkling reputation for sensitivity on this score before Land, but he frequently crosses a line into sleaze, although Fraction’s plot is hardly blameless for providing some opportunities. Is an X-Men comic the appropriate venue for a scene of Emma Frost wearing fetish gear initiating sex with Cyclops?

The seven short back-up strips by assorted creators feature Colossus, Dazzler, Emma Frost, Graymalkin, Juggernaut, Karma, and Mercury. Different approaches are taken to the same end of giving an idea of who the person is, what they can do, and airing their insecurities. The Emma Frost chapter is too whiny, and while not the best drawn by Dan Panosian, Skottie Young’s story of Juggernaut sitting in a bar attempting to figure out his true nature is the most offbeat. The best of them is Keiron Gillen and Sara Pichelli’s Dazzler story, which is a really neat offering, having a point and a plot, yet still wrapped up in eight pages.

Volume 1 of Uncanny X-Men: The Complete Collection by Matt Fraction features the main story, but not the back-ups by other writers. It does contain Lovelorn, which is the next selection of Fraction’s X-Men.